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Visiting the Senator John Heinz History Center

In October of 2018, we traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit the Senator Heinz History Museum, we found some amazing treasures and artifacts there.

Housing a vast collection of over 250 years of Pittsburgh history, The Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania's largest history museum, as well as, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. It is located at 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Please be sure to check out the museum's website for hours of operation and admission information.

Our main reason for visiting the museum is that we knew the Columbia (Apollo 11 capsule) was going to be at the museum on loan from the Smithsonian. With it being so close to home, we had to take the day and go down to see the exhibit. Just a side note, we almost had an issue when we got to the museum and noticed that the camera didn't have an SD card in it, I had forgotten I had taken it out and we left it at home. After walking around the neighborhood next to the museum for a while looking for a store that sold them, Marianne remembered that she had an older one in her purse. Luckily we were able to format it and use it to get pictures at the museum.

We produced a special video about the exhibit called "Moon to Pittsburgh" that highlights the capsule. You can check that out below.

The museum houses many artifacts including items related to the Heinz brand and how the family got started in the Ketchup business.

For the history of the building and how the museum got started, check out our paranormal history profile video below.

Now, if you grew up between 1968 and 2008, you probably have heard of the show, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood on PBS. The show ran on PBS stations until it's end in 2001 when Mr. Rogers retired, then on various PBS stations in syndication until 2008. At the Heinz History Center you can see some of the sets and props that were used to produce the show out of WQED in Pittsburgh.

If you are a fan on Western Pennsylvania sports, there is a large portion of the museum dedicated to different sports from throughout the region.

The museum also houses some rare artifacts as well, like a life mask from George Washington.

A lock of George Washington's hair.

Even pickles and ketchup that date back to before the American Civil War.

Some more interest to us were the Lewis and Clark, and the Clash of Empires exhibits where it is reported that sometimes at night, the mannequins have a tendency to move by themselves.

If you would like to learn more about the paranormal activity throughout the museum, please check out our "Ghost Stories and Folklore" video below.

This museum is just full of different items that I could go on and on about. In total, Marianne took over 375 photos. So with that many, we put together the following photo slide show if you would like to see more pictures. You can also click on the "More Photos" button below to open the on-line photo album.

Senator Henry John Heinz III

The museum is named after Senator John Heinz III from Pennsylvania who died in a 1991 plane crash. Senator Heinz had vast education holding degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon University. He worked at the H. J. Heinz Company between 1965 and 1970 before entering into politics. You can read more about his career here.

On April 4, 1991, Heinz and six other people, including two children, were killed when a Sun Co. Aviation Department Bell 412 helicopter and a Piper Aerostar with Heinz aboard collided in mid-air above Merion Elementary School in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. All aboard both aircraft, as well as two children at the school, were killed. The helicopter had been dispatched to investigate a problem with the landing gear of Heinz's plane. While moving in for a closer look, the helicopter collided with the plane, causing both aircraft to lose control and crash. The subsequent NTSB investigation attributed the cause of the crash to poor judgment by the pilots of the two aircraft involved.

Following a funeral at Heinz Chapel in Pittsburgh and a Washington, D.C. memorial service that was attended by President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle, Senator Heinz's remains were interred in the Heinz family mausoleum in Homewood Cemetery, located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Heinz's long time friend, Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado, remarked: "He really believed he could make the world a better place, such a contrast to the jaded resignation of our time. He could send the Senate leadership up a wall faster than anyone I've seen." Heinz's son André said at the services: "Dad, I am so grateful for the time we had, and I miss you and I love you."

Heinz's widow, Teresa Heinz, in 1995 married Heinz's U.S. Senate colleague and future Secretary of State John Kerry.

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